Concepcion M Moreno
Montevideo, April 16 (EFE). – Uruguay, a country known around the world for various topics, among which is the level of soccer players, made its scientists heroes last year, whose “choice” advises Executive Director Luis Lacalle Pou in making his decisions regarding covid-19.
On April 16, 2020, GACH (acronym for Honorary Scientific Advisory Group) was born, one of the terms most used in this epidemic year by Uruguayans, who are accustomed to following their press conferences, to meet experts for their name – as if they were soccer stars – and to enjoy metaphors. Frequent football used by his “coach” Rafael Radi.
Biochemist and Biomedical Researcher from the University of the Republic (Udelar) was appointed General Coordinator for GACH and was accompanied by gastroenterologist Henry Cohen (District of Health, Assistance and Prevention) and mathematician Fernando Paganini (Area of Models and Data).
Under this umbrella, which has a direct link to the presidency, about 60 experts from all branches of science, including sociology and psychiatry, have formed a working group at the international level due to the multitude of academic disciplines.
On the occasion of the first anniversary of GACH, the group “She Was Born, Evolution, and an End”, Rady welcomed Efe into his garden – under the banner of an outdoor meeting, physically. A distance and a mask – to an interview in which he stated that his work had yet to last “another two months”.
“We thought that when the year came, it would be the last moment to close, with an advanced vaccination campaign and the epidemic under control,” said the person who was the first Uruguayan to be designated by the National Academy of Sciences in the United States as a foreigner. Connected world.
Experts are accustomed to anonymity, or at least not widely recognized, as they spent a year under the spotlight of the press and public opinion, although Al-Radi highlights that the group has maintained its “steadfastness and convictions” in its role as “scientific advice.” .
However, aside from the media coverage, the biggest complication for the scientists was the pace of work, “at significantly faster speeds” than they were used to, namely, “the speed of sailing, exploring roads and roads at low speed. Drilling stops at corners to avoid accidents.”
Science vs. Policy
Since March 13, 2020, for a period of nine months, scientific advice and the decisions of the Uruguayan government have gone hand in hand, and the Covid-19 virus has been almost residual, compared to the high global numbers.
However, at the beginning of 2021 they both began to distance themselves and some recommendations were not adopted in order not to break the economic revitalization of the country. Now, Uruguay is experiencing the worst moment of the pandemic.
Al-Radi acknowledged that GACH had always known that the “list of options” it would grant to the executive would be taken “in whole or in part,” as “it had to balance between other economic, social and political issues.”
“Now, when community transition becomes really, really important, cases get very high and start to have a very large impact on the sick and the dead and the health system is saturated, there is little room left for the government not to move further towards taking action.”
Regarding possible frustration for scientists, the person appointed by the Autonomous University of Madrid last July, Dr. Fakhri Koza, noted that “there is a part of the team that feels, without any doubt, that the government has fallen short of that.”
However, the biochemist said that “partisanship is a risk factor for the epidemic as much as being close to another person or not washing hands with alcohol gel frequently,” because “the virus and disease have nothing to do with ideology.”
In addition to highlighting that SARS-CoV-2 was a “biological phenomenon that overwhelmed the world,” he denounced that there was “a lack of a very large global vision” with regard to vaccination across the planet.
And he warned that “until the whole world is protected, no one is ever protected by the permanent generation of new variants.”
To explain the development of the epidemic in Uruguay, Radi argued that the current “picture” does not look good at all: so many cases, so many deaths and the health system overwhelmed, “but if one” watches the whole movie, and yet this is a terrible stage, one can ” He says global governance “has been better than it has been in other countries.”
In addition, he commented, saying that this phenomenon has taught society “that there are issues that intuition is not sufficient to understand and we must rely more on science and projections.”
In the early months of the epidemic, the “Uruguay case” was closely followed by institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) or the German Robert Koch Institute.
In this sense, Radi salvaged the notion that this process had helped “make science visible and validate socially” in Uruguay, where there was what he called a “silent revolution”, and in 2021, he entered the École des Sciences de la Sciences. Udelar increased by 45%.
“We are happy to encourage scientific professions,” Rady added, calling for a “major reversal” worldwide in the wake of this epidemic to defend “planet sustainability” against “a development model that aims at consumption.”
The “party,” as Radi once called it, will continue the fight against COVID-19 for a while and Uruguay has its scientific “choice” to confront it. EFE
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